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Key achievements in difficult financial climate

More than 100 families saved from homelessness, 3.4 million bin collections, and an improved digital service for customers are just some of the key highlights in Fenland District Council's Annual Report.

Annual Report - family pic

Councillors discussed the achievements outlined in the 2016-2017 report when it was presented to the authority's Cabinet at its meeting on Thursday, June 15.

The report looks at the performance of the council over the past year in relation to priorities and ambitions developed following consultation with councillors and members of the public. The priorities focus on communities, environment and the economy, with each aiming to help improve the lives of residents.

It also states that, along with other local authorities, the council continues to face "significant financial challenges" due to continued reductions in Government grant and an increased demand upon its services. As such, work is continuing on its Comprehensive Spending Review, which has already helped the council to deliver £9 million in savings since 2010.

Some of the key achievements noted in the report include:

  • The council's housing team prevented 106 families from becoming homeless, and offered advice to 1,580 other households with a 100% satisfaction rate.
  • A record 450 people attended the council's Golden Age events, which provide residents aged over 60 with practical help and advice.
  • Over 904,000 visits were made to the council's New Vision Fitness leisure centres. A new app and redesigned website have also contributed to the increased popularity of the centres.
  • There were 3.4 million bin collections across the district, in all weathers. Customers also recycled just over half of their household waste, with 8,800 tonnes of recycling collected from blue bins. More than 18,000 households to date have subscribed to the new Garden Waste (brown bin) service launched in April.
  • The council's Street Scene team spent 4,110 hours on patrol; working with community groups, businesses, town and parish councils and the police to tackle environmental problems such as littering as dog-fouling and anti-social behaviour.
  • Heritage Lottery Fund awarded £2.1 million to the council's Wisbech High Street Project. Plans are underway to restore the derelict former Cook's Butchers site at number 24 into an exciting new area for public use.
  • More than 71,000 customers were helped with queries about services and payments at the council's two Community Hubs and two Fenland@yourservice shops.
  • The council website attracted more than 500,000 hits and hosts over 50 online forms. Its social media channels also increased in popularity; followers on Facebook increased by 48% to 1,070 over the past year and Twitter followers increased by 10%, totalling 7,600.

Speaking after the Cabinet meeting, Council Leader John Clark said: "It's amazing to see just what has been achieved in Fenland over the past year. It's been a difficult year financially but I'm pleased to see we have still been able to deliver projects that matter to our residents which is testament to everyone at the council working together as a team."

Other members were pleased to see so many residents engaging with the council through its website as it continues to meet a greater demand for digital services.

Article added: June 19, 2017